J'lem advocacy group shows providing bus info can be easy
By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
Green Course and the 15 Minutes citizens' forum dressed up the No. 74 bus stop next to the Mashbir in central Jerusalem on Wednesday as an informational bus stop which provided route times and fare information.
The special Purim public advocacy action was meant to draw the public's attention to ways in which Egged, the municipality and the Transport Ministry could improve public transportation in Jerusalem immediately.
Omri Adomi, the campaign's coordinator, posted a homemade route map and printed up time schedules to show how easy it would be to provide this information to the traveler.
Adomi also posted ticket prices to show how a one-day pass could save residents money. So far, Jerusalem does not have any such pass, even though it exists in cities in the Dan region, Adomi said.
"We dressed up the station to show what it could look like with just a little effort on the municipality's part," he told The Jerusalem Post alongside the stop, as residents waited for the bus to arrive.
The 15 Minutes forum was established in the last couple of months by "representatives of many different neighborhoods in Jerusalem," campaign spokeswoman Maria Averbuch told the Post.
The forum and the campaign have several goals to improve the capital's public transportation and make it a more attractive option. They want routes to be reorganized so that residents can reach central areas within 15 minutes - hence the forum's name.
For instance, reaching the center of town or the Malha Mall should take just 15 minutes instead of the half hour to 45 minutes it does now, depending on which neighborhood you started in, they contend.
"We also want three bus terminals in Jerusalem instead of just one [the central bus terminal on Jaffa Street]. Tel Aviv has two, Haifa has three, we see no reason why the capital shouldn't have more," Adomi declared.
According to Adomi, the Transportation Ministry said there was no available land for more terminals.
"However, we believe there are places which it could be done like next to the train station in Malha or the tunnel at the Mount Scopus Hebrew University of Jerusalem campus or somewhere else in French Hill or Pisgat Zeev," he averred.
Green Course, which is a national student environmental organization, has had success recently in getting routes to the university reorganized. They recently got the No. 19 line rerouted so that it takes less time to get to Mount Scopus. They are working on getting the No. 121 line from Ma'aleh Adumim rerouted to be quicker as well, Averbuch said.
Green Course and the Forum have started off small to show that such changes are possible immediately, Adomi explained.
"Right now, the municipality's excuse is that all improvements need to wait
for the light rail so that nothing has to be redone, but putting more
information on bus stops for the travelers doesn't need to wait for the light rail, as we've just proven," he concluded.
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